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Survival of Judaism in the U.S. Threatened by Increased Intermarriage

The survival of Judaism in the United States is threatened by an increase in intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, according to Dr. Marshall Sklare, sociologist and author. In an article in the March issue of Commentary magazine, published by the American Jewish Committee, Dr. Sklare cites a 1965 study estimating one out of five marriages in Boston as inter-religious, and declared that “one can safely assume that the figure is now approaching one in four.” He observed that, “If this is true in so conservative a city as Boston, it must mean that inter-marriage has reached large-scale proportions throughout the country as a whole.”

Among upper and middle-class American Jews, Dr. Sklare commented, the feeling is that “intermarriage is the inevitable wave of the future,” and “the most highly acculturated elements of American Jewry are now engaged in accommodating to it.” “To put the case baldly,” Dr. Sklare said, “there is no surplus Jewish population to cushion the impact of mixed marriage.” The results of “accommodation,” Dr. Sklare said, “are too momentous to remain a matter of mere ‘sectarian’ interest, of concern only to Reform Jews or to individuals contemplating inter-marriage. The Jewish community as a whole is soon bound to find itself embroiled in a bitter debate over what this new development portends for its survival as a distinctive group.”

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